Fergus Anderson

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Fergus Anderson was born in Britain, although it's hardly surprising that he was perhaps better known in Europe. He spent his most successful racing years there, in the 1950s, living in Italy and competing in Grand Prix events as a works rider for Moto Guzzi. He began racing before the war and over the years rode a variety of machines including Budge, Velocette, NSU and DKW. He was one of the first British riders to realise that he could probably make more money by racing regularly in Grand Prix events on the Continent, and formed with Ted Mellors and others what was probably the first "Continental circus".  In 1950 he signed for Moto Guzzi and was second in the 250cc world championship two years later. In 1953 he was third in the same class. It was

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largely Anderson who alerted the Italian factory to potential for them in 350cc racing and urged them to produce a 350 version of their highly successful four valve 250. At first there was little response and Anderson was left to contest the 350cc class with a machine which was literally an oversized 250. This 320cc Guzzi, however, was replaced by a true 350 which Anderson raced to the world title in 1953 in its first year of existence. He was World Champion again in 1954 and although scarcely seen in Britain, competed on the Isle of Man, giving Guzzi victory in the lightweight 250cc TT in 1952 and '53. He had first competed in 1939 riding DKWs in the Senior and Junior races. He was on the Continent in the 'thirties and almost until the outbreak of World War II was working as a journalist in Hamburg. Later he was to become well known for his 'Continental Chatter' column in the British weekly Motor Cycle.

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After wartime naval service, he returned to racing on the Continent and in 1947 won the 350cc Swiss Grand Prix, that year also designated the Grand Prix d'Europe, on a Velocette he had purchased from the factory. His first World Championship, only four years after the FIM had reorganised the European title as a world series, was the first in the 350cc class by a non-British machine, Velocette and Norton previously sharing the honours.
He soon became Moto Guzzi's number one rider and for six years lived with his wife and family on the edge of Lake Como in Italy, close to the Moto Guzzi factory. He retired from racing to head Guzzi's competition department, but in 1955 quit the job on a point of principle after asking for a freer hand in the running of the team. By now he was 47, but he wanted to ride again.


He approached NSU in Germany, without success, but was offered a works 500 by BMW. In 1956 he was riding the BMW in an international meeting at ·Floreffe in Belgium. While chasing John Surtees he hit a patch of gravel, was thrown off and tragically killed.